Reading list: snow journalism

Silverton Mountain ski area in southwest Colorado in April 2021. Photo by Mitch Tobin.

Over the past few years, I’ve been collecting journalism stories connected to snow, thinking I’d one day do a project like Snow News.

Below are links to some of the best and most interesting work that I’ve come across, lumped into a few categories.

If you’re looking for a crash course on snow and the Western snowpack, you should check out some of this great reporting, writing, and visual storytelling.

In a 2019 piece for The Water Desk, I took a stab at describing the subdiscipline of “water journalism,” so it should come as no surprise that I also think that “snow journalism” is a thing.

If Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain and my former employer, can hire reporters to cover Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, I think snow is also worthy of a “beat.” I started this newsletter to do snow journalism myself and to amplify the work of others who cover snow and the snowpack.

The consequences of a changing snowpack—for reservoirs, farmers, cities, wildlife, wildfires, recreation, and more—have sparked tons of other stories in recent years, but in the list below, I’ve stuck to journalism directly related to the weather itself.

By no means is the list below exhaustive, so if you have a suggestion for other content to include, please email me at

I’ve hyperlinked the journalists’ names so you can follow or learn more about them.

Atmospheric rivers

How climate change will make atmospheric rivers even worse. By Kasha Patel, The Washington Post, 1/12/2023, (video here).

This jet warns California of incoming atmospheric rivers. By Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 2/1/2023.

How California’s storms are projected to become more extreme with climate change. By Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 2/8/2024.

Atmospheric river storms are getting stronger, and deadlier. The race to understand them is on. By Gabrielle Canon, The Guardian, 2/11/2024.

Avalanches, flooding, and natural hazards

Mountains, Ice and Climate Change: A Recipe for Disasters. By Henry Fountain, The New York Times, 2/8/2021.

Satellites, airplanes and lasers are tracking Colorado avalanches. By Bay Stephens, The Colorado Sun, 3/1/2021.

How Breckenridge's Peak 7 avalanche 35 years ago changed Colorado skiing. By Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun, 2/18/2022.

The Trillion-Gallon Question: What if California’s Dams Fail? By Christopher Cox, Photographs and Video by Spencer Lowell, The New York Times, 6/22/2023.

Halo created by ice crystals in the atmosphere above Copper Mountain, Colorado, in January 2023.

Climate change and drought

Snowpack in Colorado, across the West is melting earlier than it did in the 20th century. By Lucy Haggard, The Colorado Sun, 4/6/2021.

In the West, Signs in the Snow Warn That a 20-Year Drought Will Persist and Intensify. By Bob Berwyn, Judy Fahys, Inside Climate News, 4/9/2021.

The winnowing of winter. By Heather Hansman, High Country News, 11/1/2021.

Western U.S. could become nearly snowless due to climate change. By Diana Leonard, The Washington Post, 12/3/2021.

Life Was Built Around Snow. What Happens When It Vanishes? By Ruth Fremson and Kirk Johnson, The New York Times, 10/21/2022

Pink snow is a red flag for the West’s water. By Kylie Mohr, High Country News, 11/29/2022.

Warmer winters spell trouble for snow plow business. By Mara Hoplamazian. National Public Radio, 1/20/2023.

Snow eases California drought and restores water levels but more needed. By Joshua Partlow, The Washington Post, 3/4/2023, (video here).

Warming to push snowline higher in California, study finds. By Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 5/25/2023.

Study shows how warming climate is sapping the Colorado River. By Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 7/30/2023.

Climate change is a threat to Colorado’s snowpack. What does that mean for the water in your tap? By Shannon Mullane, The Colorado Sun, 1/9/2024

Washington state drinking water, hydropower at risk as Pacific Northwest snowpack shrinks. By Conrad Swanson, The Seattle Times, 2/12/2024.

Cloud seeding

Make it rain: US states embrace 'cloud seeding' to try to conquer drought. By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 3/23/3021.

Utah is a leader in cloud seeding and could prove as a model for boosting a drought-stricken West's water supplies. By Zak Podmore, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3/28/2021.

Can Cloud Seeding Help Quench the Thirst of the U.S. West? - Yale E360, By James Dinneen, Yale Environment 360, 3/3/2022.

Is cloud seeding a potential solution to Colorado's drought? By Michael Booth, The Colorado Sun, 11/13/2022.

Data visualization

Of 21 Winter Olympic Cities, Many May Soon Be Too Warm to Host the Games - The New York Times. By Kendra Pierre-Louis and Nadja Popovich, The New York Times, 1/11/2018.

Climate change and California’s water. By Lauren Tierney and Monica Ulmanu, The Washington Post, 5/9/2018.

Compare This Snow Season to Every Winter for More Than 50 Years - The New York Times. By Francesca Paris, The New York Times, 1/26/2023.

How much snow still covers California's mountains this July? By Abhinanda Bhattacharyya, Los Angeles Times, 7/27/2023.

Dust on snow

The Rocky Mountains Are Dusty, And It's A Problem. By Luke Runyon, KUNC, 4/17/2018.

Dust blowing off the shrinking Great Salt Lake is eroding Wasatch snowpack and that could eventually threaten drinking water. By Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 12/22/2018.

Can the next generation of scientists help solve our dust on snow problem? By Aedan Hannon, The Durango Herald, 4/17/2022.

Colorado's above-average snowpack has an enemy: Dust. By Tracy Ross, The Colorado Sun, 5/18/2023.

Dust on snow in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, Colorado, in May 2023. Thanks to LightHawk for the aerial support.

Skiing and winter sports

How climate change is transforming Colorado's ski industry. By Jacy Marmaduke, The Coloradoan, 1/25/2018.

This Austrian ski resort is preparing for a snowless future - The Washington Post By Denise Hruby, The Washington Post, 2/18/2021.

How snow is made in the Beijing Olympics. By Bonnie Berkowitz and Artur Galocha, The Washington Post, 2/1/2022.

Climate change threatens $50 billion ski industry. By Kirk Siegler, National Public Radio, 3/31/2022.

Europe’s snowless ski resorts preview winter in a changing climate. By Rick Noack, The Washington Post, 1/12/2023.

Ski resorts can now make fake snow in 80 degrees. Here's why that's a problem. By Amudalat Ajasa, The Washington Post, 1/28/2023.

Ski Resorts Are Spending Big on Snow-Making to Keep Ahead of Climate Change. By Eric Niiler, The Wall Street Journal, 3/4/2023.

Catching some air at Colorado’s Copper Mountain ski area in 2015. Photo by Mitch Tobin.

Studying the snowpack

Planes, pits & snowmobiles: how scientists get good data. By Emily Benson, High Country News, 3/6/2017.

A flurry of research illuminates snow’s foes (Winter's winners and losers). By Emily Benson, High Country News, 3/27/2018.

When Water Is Scarce, Some Researchers Go Underground To Find Out Why. By Alex Hager, Aspen Public Radio, 3/13/2021.

Pink snow is a red flag for the West’s water. By Kylie Mohr, High Country News, 11/29/2022.

Why is it difficult to figure out how much snow will make it to the Colorado River By Alex Hager, KUNC, 3/11/2023.

See What California’s Record Snowpack Looks Like, Up Close. By Raymond Zhong, The New York Times, 4/3/2023.

Scientists use lasers to provide new Colorado snowpack data. By Shannon Mullane, The Colorado Sun, 5/9/2023.

From the air, scientists map California's vast snowpack. By Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 5/15/2023.

Wildfires and forest health

Ski Resorts Threatened by Wildfires Prepare to Defend and Rebuild - WSJ By Jim Carlton, The Wall Street Journal, 3/19/2022.

Higher-elevation wildfires in the West are threatening water supplies - The Washington Post. By Joshua Partlow, The Washington Post, 9/22/2022.

Wildfire and drought are shrinking California snowpack - Los Angeles Times, By Haley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 2/14/2023.

La Sal Mountains near Moab, Utah, in March 2023. Photo by Mitch Tobin.